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Cruzada & Dodson-Reed – August 2022

Candace Dodson-Reed and Efren Laya Cruzada traded art and words. Candace shared this artwork, titled “Wake,” with Efren:

In response, Efren wrote this poem:

Stirrings by the Waterfront

By the waterfront,
a metal giant gasps, struggling
to release himself from the sand’s weight,
clawing for a way out, hand curling,
as if missing a ledge that would free him.

An osprey lands on a finger of the statue
and fixates its eyes on a ferris wheel.
A child at play points at the bird, unaware
of the drama of the giant’s awakening.
The child starts to climb the metal arm,
and parents tell the child to get down.
Their concerned voices stir
the osprey to take flight. . .higher, higher,
high enough to survey the harbor,
the ships anchored at the piers, the wharves
making their way through the Potomac
above a school of ray-finned fish
that disperse underneath the motors.

The giant’s struggle remains fixed
as the osprey circles above the statue
and the people strolling
around the waterfront.

* * * * *

Efren shared this poem with Candace:

In Orchard Park Contemplating the Architecture of Kuala Lumpur

As we crossed a metal bridge above a stream
where greenery surrounded us from both sides,
we pointed at palms covered with sharp leaves
and at aerial roots that draped the trunks of banyan trees,
and when we finally exited the bridge,
we sauntered past the wild branches of a rain tree
to touch the pink-white flower clusters of a tecoma tree.
There, we watched an albatross butterfly land
on a petal, softly. Overwhelmed by delicate things,
we reposed on a stone bench next to bilimbi trees
and their plumping fruits, delighting in distant boughs
hanging with starfruit, longan, and rambutan.

We sat awhile, surrounded by the effortless dignity
of bark, fruit, and flowers, and it dawned on us
that skyscrapers could be seen from afar.
We spent the past week walking between
these behemoths of steel, concrete, and glass.
The structures mesmerized us, and we thought about
what it took for construction workers to realize
such designs, operating jackhammers, cranes,
and wrecking balls, working on staggering heights,
building and breaking apart barricades and scaffolding,
digging trenches to make way for buildings,
all this in their gloves, face shields, and hardhats.

Could crafted artistry rival the awe that we felt
for nature? When we examined the Tabung Haji
and its modernist rendition of five columns
that symbolized the five pillars of Islam,
and when we examined the Jamek Mosque
and the Indo-Saracenic design of its brick, plaster,
and patterned minarets, and when we examined
the modern Malay style of the Menara Telekom Tower
that signified a bamboo shoot sprouting out
of the cityscape, we felt that there was something
there, and the mechanized, what seemed at odds
with nature, perhaps, told us something about it.

So within the park, where constructed colossi
peeked at us through the trees, we imagined
avatars of ourselves zooming through
facades, arcades, atriums, domes, egresses,
buttresses, gables, parapets, into the spiraling
Pintasan Saloma bridge and its resemblance
to betel nut leaves arranged for Malay weddings,
into the Islamic falak observatory of KL Tower,
into the multicolored European style shophouses
of Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman road, into the Art Deco
of the Coliseum Theater, and into Butterfly Park,
where structures contained plants and metamorphosis.

A psyche butterfly landed on your pinky,
breaking us out of contemplation.

In response, Candace made this image, titled “Reflection”:

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